Military System

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Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:09 am

We needed the threat so here it is.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:55 pm

Ohnoes! The threat! Hehe, kidding.

For starters, we need to come up with all of the possible things that could go into it so we can divide it up and figure out what we can do readily and what we need to wait to develop in the future.

Supply, Supply Lines, Attrition, Morale, Fatigue, Experience, Siege Engines, Illness/Injury, Time Frames, Character Involvement, Leadership, Military-scale Roleplaying

Those are some of the things I came up with.

To answer a question by Bronx earlier, my personal opinion (I don't think anyone beyond myself and you have really delved deeply into thought about the Military System) of character involvement would be very low to very high tier commanders, with run-of-the-mill soldier characters being uncommon because it would be difficult for them to actually roleplay simple combat during an entire battle and make it seem worthwhile to them.
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Re: Military System

Post by GrayWatch on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:59 pm

Spoiler:
Well I'm bored so I'm going to rattle off what seems logical to me.

STRATEGIC TIMESCALE-
This applies to all non-battle actions the strategist takes. It involves moving units around, exerting pressure on regions, and the care and composition of Units.
The base timescale is per 6 hours (hereafter referred to as a tick), and all distances are measured in Kilometers unless otherwise specified.

UNIT STATISTICS-
Move-#/tick: Self-explanatory. Base movement rate assumes travel on dry roads in temperate conditions or equivalent. Penalties apply for non-optimal situations. I.E. mud, rain, moving through thick forest, attrtition etc. Move rates automatically halved after all other modifiers if Supply = 0. Units may move. This is equal to the lowest single Move stat of any individual soldier, camp follower, or siege engine within the Unit multiplied by six. Notably, separating Camp Followers does not require an action.

Range-#: The maximum range a unit can take actions from. At it's core this represents how far a unit can enact change or make it's presence known, from the camp at which the mainstay of the unit is located. This is equal to twice the highest move value of any individual soldier within the unit, unless otherwise specified by the action.(i.e. Full Attack is always considered to use the LOWEST value of any individual). If supply is equal to 0, this value is also equal to 0.

Size-#1/#2/#3: #1-The number of currently battle-ready individuals within the unit. #2 The number of battle-capable within the unit #3- The total number of individuals within or associated with the unit (including camp followers, refugees, VIP's, etc. etc.)

Supply-#: Represents the amount of food, water, weaponry, and other sundries the unit has immediate access to. It is decremented by an amount equal to Size(3) every 4 ticks. Supply may reach any value, but must be lowered (by consuming, destroying or abandoning sundries) to no more than Size(3)x2 in order for movement to be a valid action.

Connectivity-# : A stat I haven't worked out too much about, but represents how easy it is to get from almost-anywhere, to where your unit is. Used to determine how much supply is INCREMENTED by, and how long it takes to relay specific orders to a unit.

Scout-# (1-5): How aware your unit is of it's surroundings (within Range).

Composition-less a statistic, and more a listing of what individuals the unit is made of, and the groupings used within tactical combat. (i.e. LEADER: Aerywynn, COMBAT: Undead Soldier(1000)x100, Mearc Cavalry(200)x5, Longbowmen(200)x10 SUPPORT: Medic(50)x10, Engineer(10)x5 OTHER:Refugees(5000)x5)

Special- Any particularly noteworthy abilities or qualities of the unit that apply on the strategic scale Ex: Undead (reduced supply consumption), Unresting (no penalties for not taking a sleep cycle), Hidden(Other units may not act upon this unit so long as it takes no action. Unit's may not receive supply wagons.). In general a quality that applies on the strategic level is passive and a quality of the individuals composing the unit as opposed to talents or strengths of individuals within the unit. Exceptions may occur.

Turn Cycle:
Players act more-or-less simultaneously, with 4 ticks per day.
Human units must spend at least 1 tick per day sleeping, or otherwise resting.
Moving takes a tick, as do many actions.
Actively attacking a 'hard' target (other military units, walled cities, fortresses, anything capable of putting up a defense) automatically takes AT LEAST one tick, and places the conflict into the Tactical Timescale. An additional 1 tick is taken up afterward for recovery.

Actions:
WiP

TACTICAL TIMESCALE-
WiP

I'll come back to this later. Need to work out the system for incrementing supply. Possibly something about mutually recognized 'depos' and your distance from them.
Spoiler:
War Rules

DISCLAIMER-These rules are presented with the intention of being a conflict resolution system. It is assumed that those making use of the system are mutually unable to come to compromise about the outcome of a given event with known circumstances. This system is designed such that a force with a seeming overwhelming advantage, in reality DOES have an overwhelming advantage, and will in all liklihood take the day (barring deliberately botching it). If you wish to write a story of unlikely victory against long odds, I recommend you do NOT use this system. If you are unable to agree on who wins a given conflict, or simply wish to engage in a tactical or strategic exercise it is my hope that this system will suffice to meet these needs. If you just have a pathological fear of numbers I recommend you see a psychiatrist or, at the least, record your reaction the first time you file income tax. It will be hilarious. for posterity.

War is a complex subject, but for simplicities sake is broken down into two timescales
The period of time where forces are not actively engaging each other in combat, and the period of time in which they are.

These periods are known as the Strategic, and Tactical timescales respectively.

The purpose of the Strategic timescale is to simulate the movement and supply of armies, the assembling, splitting or otherwise peaceably altering the composition of armies, the management of qualities inherent to the relevant armed force (equipment quality,disease, morale, etc.) and tasks that are tactically trivial or extremely unwieldly.
As a general rule of thumb any interaction with active and aggressive hostile forces who are viable threats falls outside the realm of the Strategic Timescale, and most every other activity falls inside the realm of Strategic Timescale.

The design goal of Strategic timescale is to determine where the armed forces are, their overall status, and determining what the pre-existing conditions of a battle are before entering the Tactical timescale.

The purpose of the Tactical timescale is to simulate confrontations between two or more forces of arbitrary composition, to quantify the effect of structures and landscape features upon acts within battle, to resolve losses suffered by armed forces, and to hash out the effects of leaders and leadership.


Last edited by GrayWatch on Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:27 pm

OH MY GOD THE NUMBERS!!!

*Kills Self*

It's just so damn...complicated...and boring...dry...other word that express how little this system excites me.

Seriously the more I read it the more I want to kill myself...I'm only kinda kidding too.

I like the rp system we have vaguely established already...mostly because it doesn't require a calculator...

Look at this to get the details of the system I like.

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Re: Military System

Post by GrayWatch on Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:14 pm

I suppose it depends on what you want out of the system.

My goals are to simulate a long term war, where you DO have to worry about such things as supply lines, attrition, running out of food, sabotage etc.

The purpose of the section you criticize is not to simulate a battle, but a war.

Further, I want to be able to do more or less anything. I want to be able to say that this archer squad and that cavalry squad are now one squad, and my archers are riding double with the cavalry to keep overall speed up.

I want to be able to make supply raids, and just sit back and watch as the opposing behemoth forces of unkillable super-monsters die, because my small, fast force is wiping out all their supply lines and poisoning all the wells.

Most of all I want to be able to do this with no more than reasonable extrapolations from pre-existing framework. I very explicitly want to NEVER have to turn to a GM unless me and another player have tried and failed repeatedly to come to an equitable ruling.

Your system I find...well to be honest I find it clunky, because almost everything has to be done through a GM, and simple to the point where it becomes difficult to do anything more complicated than throwing utterly homogeneous groups of soldiers at each other, with maybe a flanking bonus or something.
Not to be insulting, but it is, quite frankly utterly insufficient for my needs.

War is, and remains to be probably the second most complicated task ever embarked upon by humanity, second only to Peace. I will be very surprised if you can cite any 'simple' system capable of simulating it to my satisfaction. Even more so with the irking bastard that is magic (Which for Strategy purposes I'm treating as not big enough to effect it, save perhaps as a Special qualtiy)

Then again, as I'm including numbers in the first place I never expected you to like it...nor do I understand your almost pathological phobia of them. There are, so far, a total of FIVE numbers you will ever have to remember. And while I do expect that number to grow, most of them are and will remain, simply multiples of each other.
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:40 pm

Must...fight...strong desire...to kill self...

The problem with your system, or really any system with numbers is the whole cut and dry nature of numbers themselves.

2>1 that's how it is and that's how it always will be. Thus an army with an ultimate value of 2 always ALWAYS beat's an army of 1, there is no strategy it's a game of numbers and the bigger one ALWAYS wins.

Which too me is so utterly stupid and...boring as hell...it literally makes me want to die.

It because less a game of strategy and more a game of who can add what up to make a bigger number than the other guy...

That's not war that's math camp. Quantifying war is just a stupidly impossibly complex idea that ultimately leaves out so much it's just tragic...

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:30 pm

As I posted in chat, I'll post here:

Bronx and I have discussed this, and we both feel it best that whatever military system we have will have numbers. It's far too hard to lay out anything of this mind-boggling complexity without being able to detail it number-wise. However, we both agreed that such a system will serve as a skeleton. We will abide by it's determined logic, but we will only use it as a reference to conduct roleplaying on a military or war-based scale.

There are many things to consider that has nothing to do with numbers, such as terrain, tactics, and so on and so forth. We may eventually define such things with numbers, but we will only do so to wrap our minds around the concept easily so that we may then regurgitate it qualitatively.

We've always taken a stance against having numbers be a root part of our conduct, but there's no other way to escape it with something like this. If you think about it, you will always have X number of soldiers, X crates of supplies, X kilometers to your target, X people in X divisions doing X tasks, etc. It can all be defined quantitatively, and must be even at the most vague form ("We have enough supplies for thirty days.").

Again, I stress to you to stop having a problem with this system having numbers and accept that it's only the bones, in the same way that you and I have the same number of bones in our bodies yet our appearance and our particular skills are probably quite different.

That being said, onto critiquing BI's system. Also, BI, would you rather I start calling you GW or something now? Same goes from Bronx -> Aerywynn.

I like the tick system, but perhaps it should be 6 ticks per day of 4 hours each? This also accounts for what should essentially be "Full Rest" and "Half Rest", and allows for greater mobility.

As for supply consumption, perhaps they should be consumed at a rate of 1/4 x Size(3)/tick instead of every 4 ticks (assuming no tick time frame change)? It makes more sense that supplies would gradually dwindle and it allows supplies to run out in the middle of the day rather than at the end.

I'm confused with your army detailing, and I'm sure it's more of a prototype, but I'd like for you to explain what you mean by Soldier(Xnum)xYnum. Does it mean that there are Y groups of X amount of Soldier-type?

Obviously some changes will be made so I'll wait on critiquing a lot because I want Bronx's take on this as well. I'm also thinking about asking Alazair if he'd like to look into this and help us out if anyone's alright with that. He has a knack for coming up with numerical systems that are very logical.

As for GM-managed, I agree with you BI that things militarily should more or less be handled by the participants and a solid system to reference would be good. However we'll have to see in the future just how much GM involvement will be needed. I'm currently working out details of how command roleplaying will work per-tick and I'll post what I figure out at a later date.
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Re: Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:41 pm

I have played in campaigns that featured large scale conflict. It was a star wars site that was dated before the knights of the old republic. It had a whole massive history created quite literally through events that took place in the game. It was incredibly impressive. They did not in anyway have a number system (though they did have a currency system for buying equipment/ships). I really feel as if all these factors can be equated to roleplaying. They did a really great job of making individual fights matter.

For example during this war between the Republic and these rebel aliens they had numerous ground battles on this planet called Typhon. One group of characters led squads on one side and the other wages battle for the other. Overall the Republic won more of their battles in 6-2 margin. These individual battles helped contribute to the next tier of conflict which involved sieging the capital. This battle took place in multiple threads which contributed to different facets of the battle. In this case the Republic characters again won on a 4-2 margin including the "main battle" to seize the enemy palace. Thus the Republic was declared the winner on that planet.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:13 am

Did they take into account all of the different factors that we aspire to? After all, space travel and advanced technology considering supplies, as well as ammunition and quick-healing and everything else, cuts down quite heavily on the amount of supply and attrition we need to keep in mind.

If you can figure out how to capture the entire feel of a military system completely qualitatively, feel free to try to do so. I'm curious as to how it can all be managed effectively.
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Re: Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:21 am

Well they just made it part of the RP. For example in the Typhon example the ship battle consisted mostly of the rebel aliens running away to regroup at their capital planet because the commander in charge decided they couldn't win. Then the Republic characters had a thread about how they were going to blast the planet from orbit which they did. Then when they got on the surface it was recognized that the Republic had air superiority in all but one area (a fortress with its own personal shield generator like the capital city that still had anti-air defenses up and running) and that their positions were weakened by the orbital bombardment. Thus they played through the scenario using the tools that each side knew they had. Much of it was centered either one character vs character combat with the overall thread of the war effort playing an effect on each of their actions. For example in the fortress thread several characters retreated from their pvp battles because it was clear the "environment" was turning against them because they couldn't do diddly against the republics armor blasting away at them. The armor was so strong because in an earlier thread the Republic had clearly defeated a raid attempt against the convoy of armor through another RP battle thus effecting the fortress battle in turn.


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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:26 am

So really what you're saying is their entire system revolved around a set of very small, character-focused battles that contributed to the 'feel' of the engagement as a whole, which then went towards the actual conclusion of the engagement?
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Re: Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:32 am

I wouldn't say they were "small". I mean the fortress siege alone had something like 27 people playing in it. The thread was huge.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:37 am

Well I mean it sounds like the actual battle going on around everyone is more or less left out, and that characters are kind of doing their own thing and their personal victories or failures dictate the victory or failure overall. Were they commanding soldiers en masse or otherwise detailing the actual battle?
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Re: Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:41 am

Half-and half. A couple overall leaders led the "NPC's" while other characters led small groups or went by themselves to certain objects. For example three people on the Republic side infiltrated the fotress during the fighting and after killing one character set a bomb in the fortress that tipped it toward the Republic. In turn the "commander" characters reacted to this fact in predicting the overall battle. In the case of the rebel alien commander after the bomb exploded he pretty much conceded most of his anti-air was out, a lot of troops were dead, and considering the armor pounding at him that they were going to lose.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:00 am

Alright, that grants a better understanding, but there are definite elements that would be different in our case. These small units led by characters are certainly what we're thinking of, and even the larger units led by character-generals and whatnot are too. They will certainly affect the battle and it's progress tactically. However, we require a far more broad strategical element that is far harder to simply roleplay when a commander has to overview all the different aspects and make logical decisions of everything when instead he can just look at a possible numerical cheat sheet to figure out what he's going to post.

I'm not sure if the roleplaying battles on that website you're referring to dealt with solid land-based supply lines, forced marches, starvation, attrition, combat effectiveness of their armies, differences in experience, and so on and so forth. Sure, they might have acknowledged a few areas and kept it in mind with roleplaying, but we're trying to capture an entire feel here. If you can perhaps translate as to how it'd also work out in a feudal setting where I can't poke holes in it simply because everything far easier with space technology, that'd be great.
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Re: Military System

Post by CromTheConqueror on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:04 am

Well let's take the battle for the capital planet. It was recognized that the Republic troops after making landfall were forced to often starve as the result of the rebel leader releasing a smog that covered the planets surface making sending ships in almost impossible. They lacked equipment so they lost most of their engagements and it was pretty much well accepted they were all screwed unless the knocked the smog machine out which they barely managed to do (the Republic lost almost all the characters on the ground) before reinforcements arrived to buffer them and finally end the war.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:11 am

Maybe what I'm asking for is a more specific and well-detailed example to show how it would work in effect rather than a broad description of something that doesn't seem to apply quite well to our situation. Like person1 roleplays this, this happen, person2 roleplays this, this happens, and then somehow through the people continuing in such a fashion that someone, at some level, says what happens overall or somesuch?
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:19 am

The way I look at is, military commanders don't so much have to worry about supply lines and war logistics outside of the fact that it gets taken care of.

The details of it are usually taken care of clerks, and other such bureaucrats.

And I doubt any REALLY wants to rp a medieval bureaucrat as exciting as that sounds.

The rest of that can be easily fixed by a clear application of logic, either by both parties, or failing that by a GM of neutral disposition.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:23 am

The way I look at is, military commanders don't so much have to worry about supply lines and war logistics outside of the fact that it gets taken care of.

Germany's invasion of Soviet Russia, Stalingrad, Winter, '43. Commanders do in FACT have to worry about supply lines and war logistics. In fact, it's probably way more part of their worry than actually commanding soldiers.

Sure, the supplies getting here and there, that's handled by supply wagons and clerks and yada-yada, but commanders make decisions based on these things. They don't have to worry too much about it getting from point A to point B, only that they have it and the lines remain stable and that all the other factors are considered so they can make decisions. A commander that doesn't think about these things gets his ass kicked simply because of him, his leadership skills be damned.
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:30 am

Well either way I don't really see why it can't be handled inside the context of an rp.

When a commander is told to make plans to invade such in such country it's just another thing he has to keep in mind, when he draws up his proposed route of invasion he includes his supply lines, where they're coming from and how fair they are expected to go, what line supplies what, and how they are being protected.

At which point logic can dictate what happens if a supply line carrying replacement armor and swords to the front lines is cut off...or a supply line carrying food and water to the front line is cut off...or any other number of things.

Numbers should dictate what the number of things are not how things are going to turn out...

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:37 am

I don't think anything that BI has laid out actually speaks of who's going to win or not. He's just laid out systems involving supply, movement of supply, movement in general, troops stats, etc.
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:43 am

Chaos don't just focus on a single line of my post when there's two paragraphs of crap above. Legitimately rebut my statements, or whatever you wont, don't just ignore them.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:48 am

Fine.

MidgetNinja wrote:Well either way I don't really see why it can't be handled inside the context of an rp.

Handling it inside the context of an rp is the entire point, the objective is first establishing it as a numerical system.


When a commander is told to make plans to invade such in such country it's just another thing he has to keep in mind, when he draws up his proposed route of invasion he includes his supply lines, where they're coming from and how fair they are expected to go, what line supplies what, and how they are being protected.

Agreed, except that a Commander must also focus on updating such information as "No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy." People who can't roleplay to that complexity won't have characters that get that far up the command chain. Agreed?


At which point logic can dictate what happens if a supply line carrying replacement armor and swords to the front lines is cut off...or a supply line carrying food and water to the front line is cut off...or any other number of things.

Right, but what about supplies that the army already has? How quickly can we correctly judge just how much the army consumes, how much supplies it already has, how often it was resupplied, etc. and so on. The point I'm trying to make is that if we have the numerical system in place everything becomes far easier to roleplay.

Numbers should dictate what the number of things are not how things are going to turn out...

See original reply for my response.
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Re: Military System

Post by MidgetNinja on Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:08 am

At the risk of sound like a broken record, I don't want to play a game of 'Bigger Number Wins!'

Or move's faster...or what ever the hell your trying to express because it all ultimately breaks down to a single meaningless gray number that is either more or less then your opponents, and less is usually a bad thing.

That aside, why do we have to establish a numerical system to handle something in the context of an rp...for a time frame to be sure, but aside from travel speed of a troop type, perhaps modified depending on size, I don't see why we need all the...equations...BI has established for that.

Agreed with your second statement in that case.

And your worrying about details...minor little details that should be delegated to any number of clerks and bureaucrats. There is a simple logical solution outside of BI's...physics engine he seems to be building. Take two numbers , one's the number of troops, the other is the number of supply lines it needs to be sustained, as one goes up so does the other. If a line is cut then an inverse affect it to be had on the portion of the army that accounted for that extra line, based upon what that specific line was shipping.

Establishing a time frame, might not be a bad idea, but I don't want to have to have a degree in calculus to fight a war...and I don't think anyone else does either.

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Re: Military System

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:58 am

MidgetNinja wrote:At the risk of sound like a broken record, I don't want to play a game of 'Bigger Number Wins!'

Or move's faster...or what ever the hell your trying to express because it all ultimately breaks down to a single meaningless gray number that is either more or less then your opponents, and less is usually a bad thing.

This applies to war in reality which doesn't need a system. Less soldiers, less supplies, less artillery, less armor, slower troop movement, etc. etc. etc.
Less is usually a bad thing in cases that has nothing to with if it has a numerical system governing it or not. It depends on what someone makes of less in the face of more.


That aside, why do we have to establish a numerical system to handle something in the context of an rp...for a time frame to be sure, but aside from travel speed of a troop type, perhaps modified depending on size, I don't see why we need all the...equations...BI has established for that.

Because it helps put things into perspective, as I keep having to say over and over and over and over again.

And your worrying about details...minor little details that should be delegated to any number of clerks and bureaucrats. There is a simple logical solution outside of BI's...physics engine he seems to be building. Take two numbers , one's the number of troops, the other is the number of supply lines it needs to be sustained, as one goes up so does the other. If a line is cut then an inverse affect it to be had on the portion of the army that accounted for that extra line, based upon what that specific line was shipping.

That's far too simple, or rather, it should just be a start. What about a single supply line that's really efficient? That idea suddenly breaks down. The inverse effects will obviously be roleplayed and must be determined logically given as to the amount of supplies people actually have left. Just because a supply line is cut doesn't mean suddenly everyone's screwed, it can always be reestablished by the time stored supplies run out. As for bureaucrats and clerks and yada-yada, yeah, they'll handle it at an RP level and all have to answer to the head guy. A point in your favor for pointing out no one would like to do that in roleplay. You know who actually manages all the information then? The general at the top who has to roleplay it all because it's all NPCs.


Establishing a time frame, might not be a bad idea, but I don't want to have to have a degree in calculus to fight a war...and I don't think anyone else does either.

People who can't handle it won't get that far up the chain, as we've already agreed. I for one think I could manage it all, especially since I'm sitting in a chair and I just have to roleplay the stress of standing in the Commander's shoes instead of personally being there. Besides, look at DnD, Exalted, pretty much EVERY mainstream roleplaying medium. What's in common? Numbers. How complex are the equations? They can get pretty damn complex. Do people play them? Lots.

As I already said, though, this will serve as a SKELETON. It will serve as a BASE for which people will look and understand everything quickly instead of reading through page and page of text trying to understand what the hell should be going on with the military system as a whole. Just because I put down that some speed stat for a particular unit is 5 doesn't mean that I can't make it do 6 or 7, or even justify that it goes 4 or 3. The alternative is typing out each and every single range a unit can move and yada-yada, which is boring, and even then we could still logically have them go faster or slower as a situation and/or logic dictates. Some things won't be able to be roleplayed out of, such as troop numbers, supply lines, and the amount of supplies, which we both agree should definitely be classified under numbers because it only makes sense that way.
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Re: Military System

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